A big congratulations to OPA, winner of the #UNWRAP award, a regional challenge for the prevention and reduction of single-use plastic packaging in the food and beverage sector in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The winner presented their new packaging for delivery service at the Innovation Fest, where it received the Award.
The challenge, launched in July 2019 by the Switchers Fund in collaboration with Innovation Nest and SCP/RAC, aims to unwrap the future of food and beverage by addressing packaging solutions and business models for tackling plastic packaging value chains in a circular economy and reduce negative effects of plastic leakage into the environment while keeping the plastic material in a closed loop. Different approaches can be taken to tackle the issue; from resource-efficient plastic, single-use recyclable plastic, single-use of alternative materials, the reuse, refill & rewash strategy or more desirable options such zero-waste packaging alternatives where packaging can be phased out entirely.
Experts on plastic pollution, entrepreneurship and circular economy screened the applications received and evaluated aspects such as the effectiveness of the solution, impact, added value to the region, innovative nature and originality, as well as its replicability and scalability. The awarded initiative is OPA Greek street food, a single-use packaging system made of alternative materials, a promising idea lead by two highly motivated entrepreneurs: Mr Geri Kuka (CEO at OPA) and Mr Franc Matraku (General manager at OPA).
Who they currently are
With the mission to stir up a revolutionary concept of the restaurant by using low carbon, recycled or renewable materials delivered with a sustainable and traceable supply chain. With a practical and stylish design that improves their clients experience around food and drinks, OPA has already developed a range of products including cutlery, tableware, napkins, hot and cold drink cups and takeaway packaging. OPA currently have two main sale points and will be launching a larger store in February in Tirana.
What they are aiming to do
Innovation Nest has already kick-started the incubation training for OPA this week, where they will develop their initiative and receive seed funding to invest in their idea. Recently, they have met with SCP/RAC expert, Pedro Fernandez where they have successfully identified their needs and defined clear targets for the coming months. The focus will be reducing the single use plastics that they currently use such as plastic lids, straws or plastic forks and OPA will look at segregating the waste in separate bins in their sale points and look at ways of effectively collecting other wastes through their current or alternative service providers.
The seed funding will be invested in improving the consumer awareness on the importance of the use and recycling processes and the environmental commitment by changing their marketing strategy. External experts from Innovation Nest will deliver the specific training and will help improve their long-term business model.
Finally, OPA will try maximize the impact of their alternative packaging system and sustainable processes in the future premises, they already plan to open new sale points in the coming year maybe even outside the country capital!
Stay tuned for more on the on the #Unwrap award via our social media and websites where you can give us your thumbs up or comment on their initiative! http://innovationnest.org/news/; https://www.theswitchersfund.eu/en/